A Voice

Differences exist, everywhere.  I personally have this weird aversion to tomatoes; it’s not that I dislike them, it’s more that I don’t like them mixed with certain things…..and those things are usually where tomatoes are usually found.  Burgers, salads, sandwiches.  So, I will often say “no tomatoes”, though many in my family and throughout the world may look at me and think, “Gina, you’re crazy.”  Conversely, I LOVE garlic.  I could add garlic to almost anything; eggs, meat, pasta, burgers……literally, almost everything.  So many would prefer that I not eat it, and even if they like garlic, would not use it as often as I would like to do.

Who is right?

And that’s the thing……differences have existed since the dawn of mankind.  They manifest themselves in so many ways; preferences, religion, clothing, politics, entertainment, sexual attractions (and no, I am not just referring to homo or heterosexual realms – but to what we are attracted to).  Some like to live in busy, loud cities where “the action is”, while others would instead find joy in the quiet and slower paced “country”.  Some would rather spend their money helping others while others would invest in corporations that are developing new technologies.  Some listen to gangster rap and enjoy it while others think real music is found in the nuances of classical music.

Who is right?

You may be thinking at this very moment, “why does someone need to be right?  That’s just silly!”  And that’s my initial point – we too often work from a place of correctness.  We seem to, more often than usual nowadays, want to or feel like OUR way is the “right” way. Oh, that’s not new – especially in the realm of religion and politics – by any means.  But it sure seems like social media or rhetoric or just our very hearts have taken this phenomenon and made it SO……MUCH……BIGGER!

So, having said that, now my voice comes in.  In my estimation, beliefs and preferences and backgrounds don’t define our value or establish “what is right”.  Voting for Hillary or Trump doesn’t make someone right or wrong.  Being a Christian or a Muslim doesn’t make someone right or wrong.  Burning a flag, not burning a flag, peacefully protesting on the streets or kneeling during the National Anthem doesn’t make someone right just as  always standing and never protesting doesn’t.  Owning a gun legally or despising firearms doesn’t make someone right or wrong.  Only marrying someone in your religion/race or marrying outside of them does not make someone right or wrong.  All of these make us HUMANS with our morals and backgrounds and world views and preferences, and none of them break any laws.  Yet, especially today, it seems many of the loudest voices use these areas as the foundation for their measurement of “being right”, and all I see coming out of that is division, animosity, and arguments.  All when “right” remains nebulous at best.

I could elaborate on recent personal situations in my life where family, friends, and coworkers, in any of the above topics, have used their voice to imply my position or views were wrong.  I could even elaborate where I took the stance that my view was actually right, exposing THEIR error.  And there have been several instances where I chose not to react at all and let the interactions wash past me, only to realize that the resentment and hurt has stayed behind and festered deep within me.  Some of these exchanges were very deliberate – kind of “in your face”, as it were – and some started from a place of innocence that I truly believe were not meant to be offensive or abrasive.  In every case, it was clear that it was “me against them” or the focus was exclusively on establishing who was right.  Too often the root or measuring point was on the “winner”, and too often the interchanges left no room for listening, empathy, finding a shared middle ground – but instead worked towards finding the next zinger that incapacitated the other with their next arguments.

So, who really wins?

I assert, no one.  I am NOT talking about standing up for someone being harassed or attacked.  I am NOT talking about voicing concerns for injustices.  I am NOT talking about standing up for human or constitutional rights that may be in danger.  I am referring to interactions surrounding views/beliefs/”what is right”.

So, with that I challenge my 2.78 readers to step back and consider – what do you hope to accomplish in this realm?  Will your actions build relations?  Have you listened more than you have spoken?  Have you looked at the person you’re interacting with and seen their humanity more than your perceived opinion of them based on their views?  Perhaps we all could try more in this area…….

Further, I admit my background is Christian.  And due to that, I am reminded what Christ taught as recorded in the Bible.  It is not to win by any means.  It is not to annihilate my opponent and then scream out in victory afterward, “we tore that/them down!”.  No, instead He and His Apostles taught these concepts in the Bible:

To love our enemies and not feel justified to annihilate ANYONE based on their stances.  ENEMIES.  Matt 5:44-48

That perceptions or opinions, especially in the realm of social areas or in religious context and beliefs, are wrong to use to define who or how we interact with others.  Matt 9:9-13, Luke 15:1-7, 1 For 9:19-23

No race or religion has more worth or rights than others, but should receive the best from each of us as Christ gave His best.  John 4:5-54

And with that, I will say Au Revoir.  Peace.